Winter Blues

Palmetto & Moon

Winter Blues 

Happy New Year!  I hope everyone has had a joyful and meaningful holiday season.  During the winter months, many people find themselves feeling down. Whether it’s due to the cold weather, shorter days, the holidays coming to an end or reminders of missed loved ones, seasonal sadness can often creep in during this time of year. While these feelings may be hard to dismiss, it’s important to remember that every day is truly a blessing! 

I hope our tips below can help to brighten each day and make the most of our short winter season. Please note that we encourage you to contact your doctor if your sad feelings last for several weeks or if your symptoms keep you from living a healthy life. 

1) Brighten Your Home – The vitamin D from natural light can help to improve your mood. Make it a daily routine to open your window coverings including blinds and curtains. Ask someone to help by trimming the trees or bushes that are keeping light from entering your home. If you still feel like you’re lacking natural light, getting vitamin D firsthand by heading outdoors can also help – just make sure to dress warm! Just standing outside for 10 minutes a day can be a great help. 

2) Anticipate an Event – Whether you’re looking forward to an upcoming party or celebration, planning to redecorate for the spring or waiting for a package to arrive, anticipating some type of event can help to create positive feelings and excitement. If you can’t think of something to look forward to, then create something! Invite your grandchildren or a friend over for a visit, plan an outing with a loved one or buy yourself a special treat. Volunteer to help young school age children to read. There are several programs in the Summerville area. 

3) Stick to a Schedule – When experiencing the winter blues, it can be tempting to alter your schedule to avoid activities and socialization – and hibernate instead. For example, if you prepared dinner at a certain time every day, try to stick to that same schedule. Or if you typically attend Sunday services at your church, don’t skip it this time of year. Then again, you can also schedule yourself one full day to be in your pajamas and binge watch that TV show. 

4) Eat a Balanced Diet – Eating a balanced diet is essential for older adults and is a natural way to boost your mood and energy. Provide your body with the right combination of proteins, carbohydrates, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables. Avoid the temptation to chow down on unhealthy snacks, and instead, snack on complex carbohydrates and super foods such as hummus, blueberries, and Greek yogurt. 

5) Stay Active – Exercise, while important all year round, can be vital to lifting you up during the winter months. You can exercise indoors or dress in layers and take your exercise outdoors for some fresh air if the temperature isn’t too cold. Stretching, walking, and lifting light weights are a couple of ideas to get you started. Maybe now is a good time to get a treadmill or stationary bike for your house! 

6) Accomplish a Goal – If you’ve been putting off a task, whether big or small, now is the time to tackle it. Add it to your to-do list, and once it’s finished, cross it off. This can help you feel motivated and may entice you to take on other items from your list. 

7) Socialize – Being around other people and/or talking to them can lift your spirits. Get together with friends or family or simply give them a call. Attending a church service or volunteering in the community are other great ways to be around people, spark conversation and shift your perspective. 

Don’t forget that feeling sad during the winter is somewhat common among many people, so if you are sharing the feelings described here, please know you aren’t alone.  Always remember to consult with your healthcare professional if changing your exercise routine or diet, or if you are concerned about your sad feelings. 

 

 

 

Author
Joseph W. Mathews, MD, FACP, FACE, ECNU, CCD Joseph Mathews, MD, FACP, FACE, ECNU, CCD Joseph W. Mathews M.D., a board certified Endocrinologist and Medical Director of Palmetto Endocrinology, was born and raised in South Carolina. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the College of Charleston, Cum Laude. He then achieved his M.D. at the Medical University of South Carolina where he also completed his residency in Internal Medicine and a Fellowship in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism. Dr. Mathews is also a Fellow of both the American College of Endocrinology and the American College of Physicians, holds an Endocrine Certification in Neck Ultrasound (ECNU) and is a Certified Clinical Densitometrist (CCD). He has extensive experience performing ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration biopsies. His practice includes a range of specializations including prescribing and fitting patients with insulin pumps. Dr. Mathews' practice has drawn patients from out of state to benefit from his expertise in thyroid disorders, diabetes, cortisol problems and their Endocrine disorders.

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